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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

UF students create app to connect Student Government with student body

They launched the app to increase student government transparency

Akshat Pant (left) and Nishant Nagururu (right) promote Candor, an app that connects UF students to Student Government, at the Curtis M. Phillips Center on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023.
Akshat Pant (left) and Nishant Nagururu (right) promote Candor, an app that connects UF students to Student Government, at the Curtis M. Phillips Center on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023.

Some students stay up to date with UF Student Government through various social platforms, like Instagram and Yik Yak, and word of mouth. However, students may feel as though the issues they are passionate about don’t get adequate attention.  

Akshat Pant, a 20-year-old UF computer science junior, and Nishant Nagururu, a 19-year-old UF computer science sophomore, had a vision to design an application streamlining students’ connection with SG.

The app is called Candor — meaning open, honest and sincere. Pant and Nagururu picked the name after realizing they wanted to make an app providing those qualities to the student body. 

The app gives students the opportunity to write to SG members directly about initiatives they would like to see on campus. 

Constituents can post proposals targeting local issues and can also comment on issues they care about. As representatives work to accept or implement proposals, they will post status changes, according to Candor’s website. 

Pant and Nagururu are childhood friends who have known each other since they were 5 years old and share a love for computer science.

They worked on Candor alongside other co-founders who attend UF and other universities like Georgia Tech including Srikar Parsi, Ati Jain, Tanuj Dunthuluri and Rishi Bengani.

It’s an all-in-one app made to allow UF students to propose changes to Senators, collaborate with other students and stay updated on active legislation. 

Candor’s main mission is achieving transparency and communication, Nagururu said . 

“Student Government impacts every single student,” Nagururu said. “We wanted to make sure students had their voices heard.”

Pant said he and his team felt as though other social media platforms were not providing direct change, leading them to create Candor to put students and leaders on a singular platform. 

The app provides a progress bar on the top of every proposal, allowing users to see how far along bills or measures are. 

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“[The progress bar] can allow ideas to be formed [and] criticisms to be made, but [also] to form something tangible,” Pant said.

Another feature provided by the app includes a comprehensive leader profile, which allows students to quickly grasp what Senators have done for their communities. 

Kevin Avaiya, a 19-year-old UF psychology junior, heard about Candor through a friend. Avaiya was drawn to the app by the idea students could firsthand submit proposals they felt passionate about. 

“I look back and I think of some of the issues with UF and SG but I feel as though my voice is not conveyed enough,” Avaiya wrote. “Parking is an issue to this day for UF. The fact that we have so many students with cars and scooters and very limited parking is unfair.” 

Other issues Avaiya pointed out include limited or broken water bottle stations, slow Wi-Fi in the library, problems with seating at the Don Toliver concert and much more. 

Avaiya believes users of the app have been able to voice these issues on Candor and finally be heard. 

“I have actively been using Candor to voice my opinions but also become aware of more issues,” Avaiya wrote. “Doing so has opened my eyes to the political scene more.”

Friends and strangers text them saying they are thankful these issues came to light because they also felt strongly about the same issues, Avaiya said. 

Aryan Shah, a 20-year-old UF biochemistry and economics junior, heard about Candor through friends at UF who already had the app downloaded. They got a flier from one of the developers at a campus event. 

Shah believes there are a lot of changes that can be made within UF and SG, ranging from better Wi-Fi in libraries to more comprehensive bus routes on campus. 

He personally doesn't have any consistent source of information about UF politics other than the accounts that they follow on Instagram, which only reports so much, Shah said.  

“Candor would be an app that is built specifically for that purpose: immersing the student body in a system where communication and political information is thoroughly prioritized,” Shah wrote. 

Sashank Mannava, a 20-year-old UF computer science junior, believes a major problem with UF and its politics is the lack of accessibility of information. 

They’re not very knowledgeable about events at UF, including SG, Mannava said.

“Student government makes decisions that can impact a student’s daily life and such decisions/bills are never really made easy to find for someone who’s never had experience in politics or who doesn’t know where to look,” he wrote. “This is where I think Candor can help.” 

Senate Parliamentarian Ronin Lupien believes while Candor is in its beginning phase, he sees great promise for the student body.

“I honestly believe if SG controlled a platform like this, it would be corrupted for narrowly partisan efforts,” Lupien wrote in an email. “One needs only look at the fact that only one party's platform is on the website to see that SG resources and the principles of pluralism can be broken by agency capture.”

Many Senators and student leaders from both Gator Party and Change Party are on Candor, Lupien wrote. 

Lupien noted the app’s growth has been slow but steady, and SG is a vicious world where personalities and resumé lines usually get put first and the needs of the student body second. 

While the historic dynamic between Change and Gator has been one of finger pointing and each claiming they voice what students want, he said hopefully Candor can be a break from that tradition. Lupien however said he is not optimistic the change will be immediate. 

“Leaders can no longer claim they did not hear students' voices and that is why they did not take action,” Lupien said.

Candor can be downloaded on the App store for iOS devices. Students can contact them at candor.now@gmail.com and its website

Contact Vivienne Serrett at vserret@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @vivienneserret.

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Vivienne Serret

Vivienne Serret is a UF journalism and criminology senior, reporting for The Alligator's university desk as the student government reporter and managing editor for The Florida Political Review. She loves debating, lifting at the gym and singing.


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